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''It's polite to learn at least some Dutch”

''Being a student in International Business, you come across a lot of Germans'', says Simon Hast (23,),a third-year student from Germany at the School of Business and Economics. ''Yet most of the students already have an international background. A lot have travelled to places all over the world; some have even lived in other countries before coming here, making them quite internationally minded. This provides an interesting atmosphere in tutorials because of the different experiences we can share. However, sometimes it can still be limited by the fact that most of us come from Germany.''

When he came to Maastricht two and a half years ago, Hast was looking forward to the international education the university offered him. ''For a course like International Business, studying in a classroom with students who come from (and have been to) many parts of the world really gives you something more than just studying a business degree back home. When you look at cases from certain areas of the world, for example, or see a presentation about a company in a different country, it can give you a new understanding of the subject.''

This view hasn't really changed during the time he has been here. ''Studying in English is a really good idea and it's one of the main reasons I came here. Having tutors from other countries also gives you a real insight as to how topics are approached in other parts of the world. Some are more critical while others are more relaxed, but you can pick up lots of useful things from all of them. There are Dutch students and at the moment there are exchange students in my classes. There are people from Japan and South America too, although it would be nice to have more students from places like Asia and both North and South America.'' The university could focus more on improving the diversity of nationalities, he thinks. “In many ways the course is fantastic, but I think this is one area that really needs work.”

And does he speak any Dutch himself? ''It's polite to learn at least some Dutch while you're here. I speak a little bit, it helps you to understand Dutch culture a lot more and you can be more involved in what's going on in the city.''




Theresa Bullock



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